Car hire novice - please help!(17 Posts)
Have never hired a car on holiday before, but having to this year as flying to an airport a little way from our campsite in the South of France. Was about to book the car through Ryan Air at the same time as booking flights, but would appreciate some advice before I do so. The rental agent, Firefly, says in the small print something about having to pay a collision waiver something or other, at the time we collect the car. Looking at their table, this appears to be 900 euros! Is this normal practice? Do we have to do it? Was hoping our own car insurance, travel insurance and credit card protection would be enough - especially as insurance is included in the car rental. Is this normal procedure, that you hand over credit card details for this amount when you collect the car? We're flying to Carcassonne.
A few standard points about hiring:
Make sure you bring BOTH parts of your driving license with you (dig out the paper part).
When you pick up the car take photos of any and all damage, and I mean the most minor scrape and mark as evidence and make sure they mark it down on their records so you can't get stung for damage when you return it (take photos on return too).
The standard insurance usually has a massive excess of up to �2,000 so any damage and you are seriously hit for costs. They then try to sell you daily excess waiver insurance for about �20+ per day on top of the rental charge.
To avoid this you can buy your own stand alone policy which you pay about �3 per day from somewhere like this https://www.questor-insurance.co.uk/buy-insurance/hire-car-hire-excess.aspx/?advertiserid=300277&gclid=CJCw2Y-DssMCFYjJtAodDSgAlQ . For these policies, if there is damage, then you pay the car hire company the say �2,000 and claim it back from Questor.
You need to make sure you have enough headroom on your credit card to cover the maximum excess (even if you have your own policy) as the "block" your card for this amount until the car is returned. They don't charge your account at all, just hold it in case they need to deduct the charge if there is damage, but it does mean you can't use that element of your credit for your holiday. So it is worth bumping up your credit limit before you go on holiday if you have say only �2500 of a limit on your card.
At busy holiday airports, make sure you leave plenty of time to check your car back in , wait for bus transfer to the airport and make your check in time for your flight. On average , plan for at a minimum of 30 minutes, depending on how far the hire place is from the terminal and the frequency of shuttle buses or if you can walk.
Everything 3nations said, also I always check the forum on trip advisor for where I'm going as there is often threads about car hire firms to avoid and recommendations for good ones. That has proved really worthwhile in the past.
Thank you so much, God what a palaver! Now I.know why we've never bothered with car! It does scare me, I've read so many us in the travel section of telegraph about car hire rip off. Wish we didn't need to.
The alternative is to fly to nearer airport, Perpignan, and, taxi transfer which we've done before but the flight doesn't get in till 9.30 pm. Rubbish time..always manged to get morning flight previously.
I can recommend the Questor insurance.
Actually had to use it and it was straightforward and they paid out.
So if I buy stand alone excess insurance like questor, will I still have to hand credit card over for collision damage waiver at the rental desk?
I think it depends on who you hire with.
Is the Ryanair through Hertz?
Have a look at a few of the big car hire companies and check their terms and conditions too.
The cheapest quote through Ryanair is wioth firefly - from I can see, a subsidiary of Hertz. There are quotes from Hertx as well, but they're dearer. I'm hoping that as Carcassonne is a small airport, there won't be hours of queues at car hire desk.
Use a comparison site for car hire and also take out Insurance4hire or similar
We hire cars abroad 4 or 5 times a year and it's usually really easy
Thank you for your help. Great advice as usual.
cheapest is not always best. IME firefly really are the worst. sorry, it may have been said already, but its true! i had one hotel advise me that pretty much you get what you pay for, go with anyone at all but not firefly! also the cheap one, and the ryan air one, means that everyone on that plane will be queueing at the same desk. use carjet.com, add their extra insurance, decline any other insurance at the desk, carjet make it very clear. even if you are second in the queue you will wait 30 mins, ive seen 20 people in a firefly queue and there was a riot! sorry to be neg at this time of day!
We have holidayed in that area before, it has been fine.
We got stung last year in Italy for 1000€ damage that we are pretty sure was there when we picked tha car up.
Luckily dh had taken out excess insurance against this and we were able to claim it back without personal loss. The dent was in the car bumper that we didn't even realise was a dent until they pointed it out we re suspicious it was probably already there but can't prove it. Will be much wiser next year.
For your info also - if you holiday in South France most hire companies will not insure you to drive in Spain- again you ll need to check it out. We ve holidayed a lot there and driven to Spain for day trips- just make sure the car hire company or your insurance cover it.
Excellent advice from 3 nations. Only thing I'd add is, if you compare car hire options check out the petrol purchase options. It's much cheaper if you just pick it up with a full tank and then return it with one rather than having to buy a full tank off them when you arrive (at extortionate prices and they keep what you leave!). I know places like goldcar seem cheap on comparison sites because they do this. Good luck!
Thanks so much for all the advice. I now know why we have avoided car hire like the plague all these years. Have booked flights to Carcassonne without car hire at the moment - am waiting to see how much the people who run the campsite shop will charge to pick us up!! If it's less than the £280 car hire we may go with that as far less hassle. Private taxis seem a lot more. If we do hire a car, I will follow all the advice on here, many thanks.
We've booked direct with Avis before now - it can be a bit more expensive than using a broker, but so far have not had a problem even when the car has picked up minor damage during the hire period.
Would also recommend Insurance4CarHire excess insurance.
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